Areas of Interest
In the Cheung lab, we focus on human genetics and study gene regulation. We combine computational and experimental methods to study normal variation in human traits and genetics of complex diseases. We assess the extent of individual differences in cellular phenotypes such as gene expression and organelle function. Then, we treat the variable phenotypes as quantitative traits to map and characterize molecularly their regulators. We are particularly interested in regulators that affect transcription and RNA processing. Our studies focus on normal human cells at baseline homeostatic states; however, we are also interested in cellular responses to stress including DNA damage, protein load and metabolic perturbations. By studying regulation in normal cells, we gain insights into how dysregulations lead to diseases. While our interest is in human biology, recently, we have taken advantage of yeast genetics to complement our studies.
Our rotation and thesis projects integrate experimental and analytical approaches to study basic regulatory mechanisms. Besides identifying regulators, we strive to understand how regulators interact to maintain cellular functions and respond to stress. Most of our study involves gene mapping, deep sequencing of nucleic acids and molecular studies to gain a better understanding of not only the functions of individual genes and proteins but also how genes and their pathways are coordinated.